Tips to prepare for a winter windstorm



​​​SEATTLE – With more snow on the way and a threat of high winds, PEMCO Insurance offers these important tips: 

  • Inspect your property for anything vulnerable to high winds.  Secure items that can blow away and cause damage.  This includes large items like moored boats, fences, sheds, as well as smaller items like holiday decorations, garbage cans, and barbecues.  Note any weakened trees that may topple onto your home in high winds.  You may want to move to a safer location until they have been removed.

  • Prepare for power outages.  High winds can blow trees onto power lines.  Keep flashlights and candles with noncombustible safety containers on hand in case the power goes out.  To stay warm, keep a supply of firewood for fireplaces and approved woodstoves.  Stock up with plenty of food and water.  Consider storing food in a secure container outdoors if the power fails and your refrigerator warms above 45 degrees.

  • Plan for emergency transportation.  This is especially important if there are special medical needs in the household. If there are large trees along a driveway, you may want to park a vehicle where it cannot be blocked from a main roadway.

  • Create a plan for communicating with loved ones.  Before the weather turns, let family members and anyone needing extra care know how to contact you.  Phone lines and cell towers are likely to be affected by severe weather, so don’t rely on those methods alone. 

If you’re caught in a windstorm, PEMCO urges Washington residents to remember:

  • Don’t attempt repairs during the storm.  If a tree falls on your home or another structure, don’t remove it while winds persist. Wait until the storm dies down and use extreme caution. Better yet, call a tree-removal company.

  • Be particularly alert for downed power lines. Use common sense – stay out of harm’s way. 

  • Never use outdoor grills, lanterns, or generators inside.   Do not use a camp stove, barbecue, gas lantern, or generator in the home.  Use them outdoors only. Also, be extremely careful with candles – fire claims increase during power outages.

  • Protect electronic equipment from power surges.  Unplug electric stoves, TVs, computers, and appliances to prevent surges when power is restored.

“What’s most important is to take action now, rather than wait until severe weather hits,” said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO spokesperson.  “In a major winter storm, you may need to hunker down at home for several days.”

About PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Washington state residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state and through PEMCO offices. For more information, visit